This has been a weird period. Sporadic work. Financial uncertainty and demise. The acceptance of personal changes. Infrequency with writing (this blog especially). Good friends who have since departed or are planning to depart the city. 2013 has proven to be the year that bit my ass.
The unending tides of NYC march forward with endurance, even when you don't believe you can run along with it. It doesn't seem to love you, even when you continue to unconditionally love it. Yet, you remain in this dysfunctional relationship, convincing yourself that it will improve, that you will finally secure the acceptance you've craved since moving here.
One minute, you're enjoying being in the moment, doing your thing, off to see someone, running to an appointment, taking a class, working at a cool job, or indulging in one of the endless activities; shows, exhibits, restaurants, museums, shops, parks, cafes, and monuments that are offered here on the island. There is always something to do and somewhere to go. Yet, it is socially awkward at certain times to enjoy it without a special person you share commonality with, especially when you're at a crossroads.
So far, five people I know and liked quite well fled NYC. Three more are planning to move next year too. I am sure a few others will soon jump ship. Sustaining true friendships isn't the same as it was in my twenties, even early thirties. Your interests evolve. Your career blossoms. You begin a new relationship. You adopt a dissimilar mindset to one you had previously. You grow up (hopefully). So, what constitutes letting go of a person or a place that no longer fits you? Change presumably.
I am sad my friends left NY. I often wonder when a person announces they're leaving NY. Its like Samantha in Sex And The City says, proposing the same sentiment to the rest of the girls at the coffee shop, "I never understand when someone leaves NY. Where do they go?"
Some of my friends left for a job opportunity. Some left for love. And others returned to where they originated from. I get that for a few, NY isn't part of their entire identity, much like it is mine. It doesn't define them or provide a false anchor. They can live anywhere and be happy. Most are secure in their decisions and trudge into the unknown, fairly, if not seemingly certain that joy or fulfillment, perhaps both, are on the horizon. Otherwise, why leave such as great, mammoth city like NY?
Perspective and for a better life? While NY offers a world of opportunity and advancement, there is an unspoken plane field of harsh rejection, fierce competition, expensive costs, overwhelming noise/people, never a dull moment to just be, always in a path of someone walking faster than you, with loftier goals, a larger apartment, a hotter boyfriend, a thicker wallet. Its like you're chasing something that might never arrive because you're not fast or lucky enough. A thick skin is needed when surviving here.
No, I am not a defeatist. I am a realistic dreamer who still believes in the power of New York. I get that while the years taper off, some imagine a life elsewhere, where snagging jobs, apartments, and partners, is actually possible. And, I don't blame them. I've been incredulous in imagining the people that were in my circle would stay put. Life doesn't work that way. People have their own lives. So, they live them, away from the hustle and bustle.
Humans constantly evolve, just as the city does. It doesn't stop or justify what is happening so you don't feel left out. If you don't follow the pace, NY can flush you out, much like the rest of life does when you're adverse to adapting. I happen to admire the strength of others and the journeys they tackle. I respect the courage it asks to pick up and leave NY, a place I am having such a difficult time staying in myself.
I want to parrot the ambitious actions and fearlessness of others who leave. I want to hop in a plane and live another life, far from the one I created here for the past thirteen years. I want to reclaim my indestructible twenty-five year self from LA, with limited savings, no job, no place to call his own, no friends, who forged a new path. I know he is somewhere, lurking, waiting to be released, to explore, and redefine his priorities.
I will always be linked to NYC, but realize other countries are waiting to be adopted. For the rest of you, my loyal readers, if and when I choose to leave NY, I will keep you apprised. If I happen to stay put, perhaps that is okay too. After all, it is my only home. I've declared this is probably the only livable city in America. The longer you stay, the harder it is to leave, much like a comfortable companion who you know so well.
For my friends who have left and who are leaving, please know I will miss you and treasure our memories. Goodbye.
P.S. The photo taken above was down the street from my flat. I couldn't resist posting it.